Why SIMs acquired from unauthorised vendors’ll hurt you at the end


By Juliet Umeh

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has warned Nigerians to stop going to wrong places to buy or register operators to avoid generating wrong National Identification Number, NIN to register subscriber identity module, SIM, stating that it is an offense.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Dr Aminu Maida stated this in Lagos while in a formal meeting to unveil his agenda for his administration.
Responding to questions from the journalists, Maida, who recognised that wrongly registered SIM has remained a contentious issue, however, promised that the commission will fish the culprits out.
He said: “On the issue of registered SIM, it’s been a contentious issue in the industry because most times, we are looking for ways of bringing these people in.
“We will work on some new ways to get them to comply with what is supposed to be. We’ve done so many things like control the environment.
“Meanwhile, there are places where you are not supposed to even buy a SIM but Nigerians go there to buy from them.
“We are going to work from the back side because for every device that registers a SIM card we know it and we know whose signature on that device the day it was registered.
“So, we are going to follow through and find a way of picking up such people and bring them before the law especially now it is NIM-SIM linkage.
“It’s an offense for you to generate wrong NIM to register a SIM card.
But as at now, we have given a directive to all the operators to check their system to ensure that every sim that has not linked their NIN to their SIM card will be removed for we have given a long time for everybody to have the opportunity to go before their service provider to correct whatever it is that is wrong with their SIM.
“I heard someone said even when we have registered, yes, sometimes some of those SIMs, the NIM of some people have been duplicated for other people unknown to them, so when we do this type of exercise, it is when we see them reclaiming back their SIM as the owner of their SIM.
“So we have a lot of things that people do within the industry that are just for financial gain.
Sometimes, the person registering you are not the staff of the operators, so they do a lot of things and we are seeing them from the back end and we want to correct all that so that when you say you are the owner of a SIM, we know that it’s actually referring to you when anything is done,” Maida explained.
Speaking further, he noted that the Commission would be stepping in, as a regulator, to see the common issues that consumers are complaining about and how to resolve such problems.
“We are also going to see how we can improve the general security and integrity from the consumers’ perspective.
“The commission plans to create a platform where consumers can verify whether lines they have not used for a long time are still active or not.
“We have noticed that vicious people are targeting lines that are dormant for a long time to carry out fraud.
“Also, we want to formulate a policy to ensure that any line used to carry out fraud, the owner of that line will be prosecuted. So, if you are not using a particular line, it is advisable you block it,” Maida said.
On its licensees, he said the commission was looking at reviewing the operating standards and introducing better ones which would be more in line with international best practices and also in the area of corporate governance.
He said NCC would be leveraging technology to review regulatory services and internal processes to improve their operations.
“We are going to be doing a lot of advocacy in the areas of pushing the telecoms industry as a critical national infrastructure.
“On the right of way charges, we are working with the state government to either waive the RoW charges or stick to the N145/linear charge. We are also engaging states on the issue of multiple taxation,” he said.
Maida said that the commission would also be aligning its goals with that of the minister’s blueprint.
He said that NCC’s policy was to grow the industry by increasing its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
“NCC is also focusing on job creation, especially for our youth, and facilitation of cross industries collaboration. We are going to enable other industries to innovate and grow,” he said.

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